Why I will always choose running outdoors over running on a treadmill

Running outdoors vs. running on a treadmill. Which wins?


Two weeks ago I was running a challenging 8km with my Friday running group of friends. 1.5 kilometres in, I heard a huge crash behind me and stopped in my tracks.


Expecting to see a car wreck, I turned around, and to my absolute shock, I saw a gigantic tree lying across the road I had just passed a minute or two prior.


When I say lying across the road, I mean it was blocking both lanes (See below). Needless to say, thoughts of my mortality played in my head for the next 6.5 kilometres. Had I been slower, had I started later, had the tree crashed a little earlier, I most certainly would have been trapped underneath it



This little incident made me realise how little we control in life. We can plan and be careful and do everything in life “right” but if the universe wanted to crush you, it would. Who’s the ant now?


This life lesson is one of the many reasons I will always choose running outdoors over running on a treadmill.


I often get asked if I’m afraid to run outdoors. My answer is always no and my answer is almost always met with horror. Because you know running outdoors in Joburg, in the dark sometimes, as a female, without pepper spray or an entourage is DANGEROUS.


Truth be told, it is dangerous. Violent crime happens, cars ramming into runners happens, mother nature happens and, on a lighter note, rocks and pebbles appear out of nowhere to play games with you (I have the scars on my knees from countless falls to prove it). We must exercise caution, be careful, alert and smart about where, when and how we choose to run, but how about you choose instead of fearing choosing for you?


When I head out on a run on the roads of Joburg, what I choose to feel is unity and comfort rather than fear.


Where else in the world will your morning run align with the morning run of the security guard of your neighbourhood? And when it happens, you don’t just pass each other but rather start to engage in a conversation about your running goals and life, thus removing any differences between you and reminding you that no matter your colour, age, gender or job, we are all the same.


Where else does wearing your Comrades t-shirt on your run guarantee that you’ll get instant street cred and make friends along your route?


You can choose to run on the same spot in repeat in the comfort and safety of your home or the gym but what are you going to encounter there? Who will you meet? Who will you inspire and who will inspire you? What life lesson is going to smack you in the face? (Asides for the one where you trip and the machine does the smacking).


I choose to run outdoors.


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Feige Lewin

Feige Lewin

Feige is the co-founder of Nutreats. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Witwatersrand and works in retail design. Apart from her day job she’s also a graphic designer, writer and runner. She is passionate about helping people reach their goals, creating new things, and active living. When she’s not drawing retail spaces you can find her on her laptop mastering code, cupcake in hand.
Feige Lewin
  1. Totally agree! And describing how you nearly didn’t make it to work because a tree nearly fell on you does make for interesting water cooler conversation…

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